Face masks are an essential part of effectively protecting oneself and others against the Coronavirus. As a result of limited supply and high demand for quality face masks, many are turning to medically-grade disposable respirators to stay safe during these difficult times. Depending on the type of mask you purchase, proper application and removal may differ, as design and functionality also differ depending on the type of mask being used. Read on to learn how to properly apply the face masks reserved for sick patients, healthcare staff, and general medical professionals.
Why are Some Masks Reserved?
Even though everyone deserves to have the best protection possible against the virus, there is a limited supply of respirators available that can do the job. From a totalitarian perspective, the best face masks must be set aside for medical staff, as these are the people most at risk of exposure, as they are the ones treating infected patients. Once the vaccine becomes more readily available, better masks may be made available to the public, but in the meantime, it’s still important to learn how to apply a medical-grade mask effectively.
You never know if you may find yourself in a position where wearing one of these masks becomes a necessity. The disposable respirator masks, which include the N95 mask, that medical staff wear are best equipped to filter out about 95% of particles in the air. The high filtration rate explains why medical staff rely on these masks to keep them safe at work. Alternative masks typically filter out larger particles which is not as effective because particles of the virus are much smaller.
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Why Wear N95 Masks?
N95 masks were originally used in construction to protect workers from harmful toxins and chemicals in the air. The masks proved to be effective in keeping workers safe while giving them the kind of breathability they needed to stay comfortable and get their work done. After studying the filtration capacity of n95s, experts have deemed these masks the most effective face coverings to protect against the virus. Since they are so effective, some people who are not patients or medical refuse to wear any other kind of mask. Since these masks are still used by construction crews, they are seemingly accessible to those who want them. For this reason, it’s very important to learn how to apply and remove them correctly in case you or someone you love is in a position to wear this style of mask. Without proper application or removal, you will decrease how effectively the mask works to protect against infection. Like surgical masks, n95s have a specific design in mind to provide the most protection possible.
Even though professional respirators offer the most protection available against the spread of the virus, they are not 100% effective at catching harmful particles in the air. If there were a better option, then medical staff would be wearing those. Knowing that risk is not completely avoidable is difficult to accept, but it should motivate you to make sure you follow all safety guidelines and commit to applying, wearing, and removing your masks properly. To get the most out of professional-grade respirators, the first step to take is learning how to apply and remove them correctly. Here is a simple step-by-step guide to show you how to do so.
Even though these masks are reserved, you can still purchase them online from many different online retailers and home project stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot. Remember to look out for proper certification on any masks shipped from in and out of the country. Not every mask is created equal, and you want to avoid any masks that have added decorations or artificial certifications on them. These tend to indicate poor manufacturing qualities. The US standard for medical respirators is n95 while those in China are kn95. Even though these masks are highly effective, the US masks are even more effective at preventing the spread of airborne particles from making contact with the mask. Be selective about your purchases and stay safe!
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Applying the Masks
To apply an n95 mask, the first step is to wash your hands. Once your hands are clean, begin by placing the respirator in your hands with the straps facing towards the ground. Then, place the respirator underneath the chin so that the nose section is resting outward. Pull the bottom head strap behind the neck and under the ears, holding the body of the mask over the face with one hand. Put the upper strap over the ears and around the top of the head. Next, adjust the position of the mask so that it feels snug and positioned correctly to frame the face. Tightly seal the cheek and nose areas by pinching the nose clip in line with your face.
Removing the Masks
To take off your mask, grasp the respirator with your dominant hand so that you can maintain the hold of the mask’s placement on the face. After this, glide the bottom strap over the top of the head while keeping the mask in place. Once the strap has been removed, lift up and remove the mask. Always wash your hands with warm soap and water after taking off your mask to prevent the spread of any contaminants.
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Timeframe for Wearing Masks
The respirators reserved for healthcare workers are surgical masks and respirator masks. Surgical masks are second in line in terms of protective capabilities, but medical respirators are the ones that are the most proficient at blocking out particles in the air. Both types of masks are disposable and should not be worn more than once if at all possible. Most experts recommend wearing either kind of mask for less than an 8-hour workday. Ideally, staff should be applying new face coverings as the day goes on, to avoid the risk of contamination and spread of disease. This, however, is not always possible, but extended use should not surpass three days in total.